The 2014 International Music Summit (IMS) Asia-Pacific was held on December 11th, in the prestigious W Sentosa Cove, Singapore. The summit is the first of its kind in Asia, that focuses on the business side of electronic dance music (EDM). With topics including reports and discussions on Asia’s potential in EDM, how partnerships will be important for success, and the Get Played Get Paid movement, IMS Asia Pacific represents a much-awaited step towards really expanding the Asia-Pacific scene.
Arriving just as lunch began, we had a quick bite from the delectable buffet spread provided by the W and looked around the crowded lunch area. As the summit was new and rather exclusive, we saw few familiar faces but were really excited to be in close proximity to some serious legends. And I’m not just talking about globetrotting DJs like Pete Tong and Steve Angello; we also got to rub shoulders with industry leaders like Lincoln Cheng (Zouk/ZoukOut), Frank Cotela (Stereosonic), Mark Lawrence (Association For Electronic Music), and a busload of other awesome names.
A full set of chrome-plated Pioneer CDJs sat near the entrance, showcasing the new KUVO network box on top of its eye-drawing shine.
IMS AP – The Second Half
(Audio recordings of each panel will be provided by the IMS people, so check those out online if you want the details! We’ll be talking about our own views on the panels that we heard, as well as comments about the panels themselves.)
Right after lunch, the first panel that we sat in on was the IMS AP Promoter Panel – Galvanizing A Region. This discussion was made up of promoters from China, South Korea, Japan, India, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Topics included:
What the crowd is like at events and festivals
The spread of fly-by-night promoters with the rise of EDM
Event safety in the light of promoters who cut corners without knowledge
The expansion prospects of events in each country
It was truly eye-opening to hear about what events are like in countries that aren’t that far away. I was particularly interested in how governmental or official support played a big part in ensuring the long-term livelihood of events. Countries like Japan and Singapore have particularly good support from local authorities, leading to safe and strict management of events.
The second discussion was Digital Doorway – How To Penetrate Deeper - a talk that was supposed to tell us about the role digital mediums played in getting electronic music out into the world. This part of the day highlighted the important role discussion moderators play in keeping the panel on topic, as the direction of the discussion went round and round without the kind of enlightenment we experienced before.
The Keynote Interview between Steve Angello and Pete Tong was mainly a wide look into what the ex-Swedish House Mafia man was doing and his thoughts on the state of music in the world. What was cool about the talk and most other artist-focused panels was seeing and hearing them talk right in front of you. It’s not every day you get to hear a superstar joke about turning down the biggest cheque he’s ever seen.
The final panel that we got to see was Association For Electronic Music Presents: Get Played Get Paid. We were really interested in hearing about this topic, as it promised to tell us about the next step in getting EDM recognized in the Asia Pacific region, and we weren’t disappointed. The Get Played Get Paid movement is aimed at getting royalties paid to hardworking producers for their music. While every club and bar usually pays fees to a Performing Rights pool that distributes the fees to producers, these fees are often unpaid (in the millions of dollars) as there is no way to track what is played.
Using the recently launched Pioneer KUVO system, tracklists are uploaded into the cloud where each song played can be attributed to the producer who made the song. Now producers can better reap the rewards from their work in a simple, straightforward manner (as long as they register their music with the system). The KUVO network also serves as an intriguing social tool as it allows clubbers to know who is playing where, and exactly what they’re playing at that very second! You can find the hottest clubs with a quick search of the city using the KUVO app. DJs who play the same sets all the time can also be easily identified through the tracklists streamed from KUVO.
Interviews with Pete Tong & Mark Lawrence
One of the coolest things about the International Music Summit was that we got to interview some cool cats in the scene, including Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1) and Mark Lawrence (AFEM CEO). Watch out for the full story out soon.
IMS AP – Cocktail Hour & The After Party
Coming off our interview with Mark, we ventured into the milling mass of networking media that was the cocktail party. This is one of the highlights of the event, where some social lubricant and the shared topic of the summit sparked many relationship-building conversations. We were first entertained by the father-daughter duo of Pete and Becky Tong, who warmed the room with some cool deep house. We met cool people like big organizers in India as well as Singapore, alongside some local flavor in the way of Mistah Fong!
We left the W for the afterparty at Attica as Nervo took over to play progressively harder music for the remaining crowd. Two Singaporeans and Mistah Fong, who attended the summit, were convinced by our party aura to show us the way and followed our team for the event (thanks guys!). Partying till almost 3 in the morning, we cut the outing short and headed back in a conscious effort to stay energized for ZoukOut the next day.
The opportunities and insight the International Music Summit provided was a profound and informative experience for our team. We learned a lot about how the music industry works internationally, especially in countries close to Malaysia. The summit itself was done well, with some room for improvement in panel moderation, sound quality, and space. The success of this first event marks “an inspiring start to IMS’ first steps into the final frontier of global electronic dance music” (Pete Tong), and will definitely be an event people will look forward to.
Oh, and did we mention that next year’s summit will be for two whole days?